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33M - 20 months debilitating chronic lower back pain cured

Discussion in 'Success Stories Subforum' started by 33andwasHurting, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. 33andwasHurting

    33andwasHurting Newcomer

    I am 33 years old and have had chronic back pain that started 9 years ago when learning to drum and everything went downhill from there.

    For the last year and a half I have had extreme chronic back pain that took away my quality of life & had me go on disability for 3.5 months this last summer. I would be in bed in pain all day for a few days each week which often included having flu-like symptoms from my severe back spasms. I ended up seeing many health professionals and trying many treatments. I was afraid I had lost the chance to live a fulfilled life. Here is a list of what I tried:

    10 Physicians (Pain Management, Orthopedic Surgeons (including the team physician for an NBA Team), Internal Medicine, Rheumatologist, Sports Medicine, Eastern/Chinese Medicine/Acupuncturist)

    2 Physical Therapists

    1 Sports Medicine Trainer/Chiropractor

    Cryotherapy, Pilates, Yoga, Sports Massage, Acupuncture, Muscle Relaxers drugs, Anti-Inflammatory drugs, Anti-depressant drugs, Medical marijuana, THC edibles, CBD oil, Menthol cream, Lidocaine, Back brace, Super duty compression shorts, SI joint belt

    I have had 4 separate steroid anti-inflammatory injections into my spine over time (facet joints L4/L5, L5/S1 degeneration shown on MRI). My x-rays & MRIs however showed a very healthy and structurally sound back other than this mild degeneration in the facet joints.

    None of the steroid injections raised my quality of life past the bare minimum, though they did take away the point of pain getting to be depressingly unbearable on a weekly basis. I was facing invasive procedures like getting the nerves in my spine burned down (ablasion), heavier pharmaceutical drug use, or both which could have lead to permanent health consequences including more pain.

    About 2 months ago I had been experimenting wearing a back brace & super duty compression shorts on an everyday basis to get out of the house more. This included my normal regimen of Mobic, Flexeril, edible THC, CBD oil, & Icy Hot gel on my back. When I know it wasn't giving enough boost to my quality of life I knew I need to try something else. On another forum I read about Rolfing and started going.

    For the last 2 months I found a Rolfing practicioner (went to PT school & has yoga cert too) that loosened all the layers of deep tension throughout my body especially in my core and back which are the center of my problems. This had dramatically reduced the tightness in my body and improved my posture as well as my attitude though there was verifiable progress in my before and after photos of each session I still had a very poor quality of life only have enough energy for my office job and nothing more due to spasms, exhaustion, and pain.

    I again where I was at the point I thought I had to try something more aggressive and started taking the Cymbalta I was suggested to by a rheumatologist and was prescribed by my pain management doctor. It gave me maybe a 20% better day to day feeling, though still did not improve my life to anywhere near a normal person.

    I made an appointment with sports medicine pain doc for trigger point injections who wanted to do them last May. (I opted to do steroid injections with a different pain doctor instead last summer. )

    I then made an appointment with my primary local pain management doctor's office to switch out Flexeril for Soma after reading reviews about it. The pain management physician's assistant I saw said I couldn't get Soma from them, only from a psychiatrist. I then mentioned my thoughts between a possible ablasion procedure or PRP/Stem Cells & he then exploded in a monologue telling me if he was my brother he would push me to do PRP even if it had a 1% chance of working in the next 6 months before my facet joints could degenerate further. Out of the 10 MDs and several PAs I had seen, this was the first medical professional that pushed hard for me to get PRP/Stem cells soon, my pain management doc at the same practice didn't even mention PRP/Stem cells until I brought it up. The PA intimated that waiting to long often ends up in fusions. Even though ortho surgeons had said I was no candidate for surgery anytime soon.

    Because of my almost 20 months of chronic pain, and having to constantly experience the well known "waterfall of emotions", this struck fear in me to do something fast despite having doubts in this PA.

    This appointment was a week ago, this last weekend I looked up stem cell clinics and was extremely sore from a tough rolfing session. I however was watching a podcast where "Healing Back Pain" and TMS were mentioned. I read the book, and so many things clicked, connected and made sense. I wrote down a sheet full of deep problems in my life I was having to confront. I said them out loud to myself. I also remembered the few times friends, a family member, and my priest alluded to that it was all in my head and emotional pain in one way or another and how angry I was at them at the time and feeling abandoned because I had the muscle spasms to prove my pain, PTs, MDs, and massage therapists could feel them, and the MRI to prove I inflamed facet joints, and how that caused even more stress already being a time of great physical and emotional pain.

    I then started aggressively confronting my subconcious in my head getting into a rage as I realized what the welled up anger and anxiety was doing to my body and my life. I confronted my subconcious almost as some sort of thing that was trying to possess and torture me. I was saying loudly to point of almost screaming "f@#! you! f@#$ off! do your worst you worthless m!therfucker!". I did feel a little crazy, but as I thought in terms of emotions and psychology causing the spasms and not letting my mind run to the safety of blaming it on my body, structure, or physiology it started waning. I started jumping up and down, doing pushups, lifting weights, shadow boxing, you name it. All the while constantly taunting my subconcious, "f!ck you! watch this! I can't believe what you have been doing to me! I want to f!cking @#$$ @$#$#@ ___ and ___ you!"

    *** I am convinced the most important thing for myself and most likely many men is to aggressively confront your subconcious as an enemy torturing you and ruining your life. Many people (often men), cannot find the root cause of their anger/stress/fear/anxiety within & believe they have things in their life "handled". I found that simply using my subconcious as the target and punching bag for all the frustrations I have had going through this pain is what let it be relieved. I am not joking when things clicked, and I saw what was happening I had a violent rage towards the subconcious wanting to end it swiftly and harshly as you would feel towards someone that committed a heinously violent act against a close family member. I know others may be able to meditate, or talking things out, etc... for me I don't think that would have ever worked. Voicing out what was stressing/angering me that morning in the shower, when walking, etc... helped, the real thing that beat down the pain from starting was having a "good talk" with my subconcious. I found thinking of the subconcious part of your mind sending out pain as a demon trying to possess you that must constantly be guarded against and exorcised with ruthless abandon. ***

    About the same energy & mindspacing I used to think about and manage pain in equal proportion had to go toward cornering and aggressively and outwardly confronting this invisible well of tenseness inside my body. As I confronted my subconcious for causing pain in my lower back it would try to move to my hips, then my knees, then my middle back, and so on tracing around all the different places and ways I had pain the past. Going through all its bag of tricks repeatedly. Day 1 and 2 were an intense emotional battle against this, though the energy I was spending suffering now was spent fighting which with the reduction of pain felt much better. I had to mutter "f!ck off!" when I sat in the car, when I put on my shoes, when I went for a walk and would feel my right hip and lower back start to tell me to go sit before I got in pain. I wouldn't blame weak muscles, bad bone structure, nerves, degeneration, or the all time, all encompassing favorite scapegoat King "inflammation".

    I am strong healthy young man. I did not get into a car accident yesterday, I did not just fall from a horse. I have no fractures in my spine. No one stabbed and twisted me in the lower back 10 minutes ago with a serrated knife. There is no even remotely recent physical trauma. A femur bone heals in 6 weeks. My intricate deep core and back muscles are NOT spontaneously deciding to seize up constantly on and off out of thin air because my body "decided to out of self defense". My mind is in control and calling the shots.

    I would tell my subconcious to go f-off , muttering it out, even again saying it loudly if I was alone. It had increased worked over the last week where I need to spend less and less time fighting my subconcious. No more NSAID, no more muscle relaxer, no more SNRI, no more menthol cream, no more heat pad, no more ice pad, no more "having to stretch" before getting up. I cancelled the trigger point injections that were scheduled for tomorrow. I didn't follow up to start calling stem cell clinics.

    On Day 2 I hid away all my meds, my back brace, my pain gel, my SI joint band, my back brace, my joint supplements, lumbar supports, etc... I didn't live my life with a pain safety net under me all the time.

    I believe I am cured and have told one of my best friends who has had chronic back pain and a family member. I will let the rest of my family find out for themselves when I visit them during the holidays.

    I think if I read the book 6 months ago my muscle spams, and pain may have been too much to overcome or for me to buy that my subconcious was the culprit. I believe that the rolfing over the last 2 months, and recently incorporated hanging on a inverted table daily over the last few weeks loosed me up physically enough and freed mindspace to fight my own mind off.

    Please ask me any questions! Merry Christmas! Hope you may heal! This felt wonderful to write!
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
    Cheryl and JanAtheCPA like this.
  2. yvettemariabetancourt

    yvettemariabetancourt Peer Supporter

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to so much above. I have been "healed" or as I call it " a general state of grace" for about 4 years now after crushing unrelenting sciatica and bulging disc pain years back . I try take meticulous care of my physical and emotional health. Sarnos approach is what I needed to begin to heal. Stay strong and don't give up. You will continue to thrive. Happy Holidays!
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. 33andwasHurting

    33andwasHurting Newcomer

    Thanks Yvette, I am glad you found a way. I would say "state of grace" is a great way to put it. There is some sort of divine halo feeling now after my pain has continually dissipated. It feels like I was just rescued from a concentration camp and had time to eat and rest.

    I understand I am one of the luckier people that read the book at a perfect point in my battle with pain that it all clicked so fast and I understood the concepts. One thing for my personal life is just accepting the large amount of responsibilities life throws at you. My pain started at 31 and as the book mentions many people start getting symptoms from 30-60 the very high responsibility years.
    Trellis likes this.
  4. yvettemariabetancourt

    yvettemariabetancourt Peer Supporter

    My first major crisis was at 41 with 3 bulging disks that caused me to stay home and alter my life for 3 months. I was at the height of my business and child rearing responsibilities and I thought, handling it all really well. I was not. It was amazing when I read the book like you mentioned it all "clicked" . The physical pain lingered but as I worked through the "unlearning your pain" process I slowly began to heal. Even today with Christmas stress, my sciatica is acting up and my body hurts. I forced a massage on myself on Friday (a total luxury) and it released a lot. I should be meditated twice per day, but have trouble committing to the time. It is a lifelong process. Cheers to you and don't give up ever. Self care is crucial.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi 33,

    Congratulations on your TMS work. Yours is another example of how broad this approach is, and how each of us finds our specific way through.

    When I read this:
    I think about "healthy anger" and boundaries. I see this in myself and others, a boundary-making by using our anger effectively. Sometimes it is getting in touch with anger at an abusive or neglectful parent, and not holding back in our expression, finally. Sometimes it is getting really clear about what serves us in our lives today, and what does not. The element in common is allowing our anger to create boundaries and safety for ourselves, as you are doing.

    So much of TMS is based in the conflict between our urge to be ourselves --in your case you express your urge to not be controlled by your unconscious, and the urge to "go along with things in order to be loved" which is a deep imprint from childhood. When this conflict is resolved by healthy anger and boundary-making, this often leads to symptoms going away.

    Andy B
    33andwasHurting likes this.
  6. 33andwasHurting

    33andwasHurting Newcomer

    I think the a part of the "healthy anger" beyond just battling the subconcious is to give into the fact that life can be vicious, can be drudgery, can have people sabotaging themselves or ruining the time of others.

    So many things in life are out of control, and with how fast the world is changing on every front - I cannot try to mentally bottle up the tidal wave of life's challenges , when instead you have to just admit there is a tidal wave, it will happen, let it happen. You can only try to build a strong boat on high land for yourself because you will never be able to hide from it, you'll have to navigate the aftermath sooner or later.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  7. yvettemariabetancourt

    yvettemariabetancourt Peer Supporter

    Love the word "healthy anger". At some point about 5 years ago, I decided this "healthy anger" was really productive. I believe a lot of the chronic pain source repressed anger. I also feel we are not adequately given the proper "language of anger". I mostly recall being told every time I was upset as a kid "you are so lucky; people are starving all over the world; etc etc". No space or conversation or coping skills other than shut it away because others have it worse. Very unhealthy. I think endless complaining/whining is pointless and unproductive as well, but striking that self care - healthy positive outlook intention is crucial. Keep up the approach.

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